A Tribute to Dr. Gerald F. “Jerry” Beavan
by Gene L. Jeffries, Th.D.
Jerry Beavan and I had a mutual friend in the late Dr. Barry Berryman. It was Barry who suggested that I should come to know Jerry; and thus, communication that would span more than a decade was commenced. In many ways, Jerry Beavan was a complex man. He was a scholar, a patriot, a humorist—an all-around intellectual. He had worked for and with many personalities and traveled the world scores of time, pioneering on all the continents, except Antarctica. Jerry walked with kings, yet never lost the common touch. His stories were both legion and legendary. He sometimes spoke of wishing his life’s story could have been written, yet those who knew him with the sufficiency necessary for such an undertaking, were either gone or incapacitated. When the Dead Sea Scrolls made a brief appearance in San Diego, Jerry visited in a wheelchair. A crowd gathered as he read aloud the Hebrew scrolls, and later commented to me that he was surprised that he could remember that much of his linguistic studies. The high point of his seminary education occurred with his study under Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer. Jerry was in the last group to hear all of Chafer’s lectures on Systematic Theology.
For a decade, he wrote and published weekly the American News Commentary, bringing together literally thousands of subscribers and readers, who shared his views on true Americanism and the conservative, evangelical declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When his health declined, Jerry ceased the weekly publication, promising to reappear on “an occasional basis.” This gave rise to the New Evangelical Viewpoint, which, due to Jerry’s ever declining health, launched only seven issues. The wise words of our nation’s Founding Fathers are replete on the Internet; yet, I never ceased to be amazed at Jerry’s ability to match one of their historical sayings with the theme of each issue. It is also true that many sagacious utterances of the past could be resurrected as identifiable with Jerry Beavan. Yet, one that always comes to mind is from Longfellow’s The Ladder of St. Augustine:
The heights by great men, reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.
I spoke with Jerry by phone the night before he died. His voice had grown increasingly weaker, but his mind and his spirit were strong! It would hardly be appropriate to share the intimacy of those moments, but we talked of Heaven and of Jesus, and we prayed. Jerry was not afraid of death. His spirit welcomed it.
Farewell, my friend, we will meet face-to-face one day on the golden streets in the Paradise of God in the Third Heaven. Then, when time shall be no more, we will finish our conversation, and it will be embellished with unbelievable praise!